Questions to ask before you buy!
• Is it a conflict of interest that Equity Builders manages your investment?
No, to date investors have chosen EQB Ltd ( the management arm of Equity Builders) as their management company as the comfort level is there that Equity Builders is still taking a direct involvement with the day to day operations after the initial sale. Furthermore EQB Ltd guarantees the condo fees will not increase for 3 years. This guarantee is unheard of in the industry and keeps us on our toes to ensure maximum cash flows
• How much money is put into the Condo reserve account?
It is important NOT to look at the overall amount in the Condo Reserve but what has been allocated per unit. This can easily be calculated by dividing the total amount in the Condo Reserve by the actual amount of units in the project. You will see that Equity Builders contributes 10 times what is required under the condominium act.
• How much money is allocated to the Vacancy/ Repair Fund account?
It is EXTREMELY important to analyze the Vacancy/ Repair Fund amount on a per unit basis. A healthy Vacancy/ Repair Fund will ensure stability of your monthly cash flow.
Furthermore, an inspection must be performed for EACH unit outlining the actual costs estimated to turn over the unit from its current tenant. If this is not done, the Vacancy / Repair Fund may be substantially depleted within the first year with existing tenant repairs. The total in the Vacancy/ Repair Fund account should include these â€˜knownâ€™ costs from current tenants in addition to any future repairs. The developer should be able to provide you with an inspection expense report for all units upon request.
• A Complete Engineering Report
As an investor this is one of your most important items of paperwork. An Engineering Report is very different to a home inspection. A home inspection generally only ensures the adequate working condition of the unit (eg. furnace working, taps not leaking etc.). An Engineering Report, from an independent firm, is a detailed report of the any current deficiencies the major components of the buildings (e.g. roof, driveway, windows, furnaces, soffits etc.). This Report is vital as it allows for adequate preparation and budgeting for the first phase of the reserve fund study. The developer should have a copy of the Engineering Report for the project.
• Long Term Construction Costs
All building components have life expectancy. Any property that is approaching its tenth year has used almost half of its left expectancy. At Equity Builders, we replace those components up front to preserve the integrity of the property and maintain value. Using this approach keeps the monthly contributions to the Condominium Reserve steady with no major increases. Every developer should apply these costs up front so that the Investor can have yearly consistent cash flows.
• Reserve Fund Study
A Reserve Fund Study, completed by a licensed engineer, details the life expectancy of each major component of the building and estimates the replacement cost of the component at the expiration of the life expectancy. The Study details all major replacements within a 40 year timeline and requires funding of these replacements within 10 years. The Reserve Fund Study must be completed promptly in order for budgets to be accurate.Most developers will tell you that you have two years to complete the Reserve Fund Study. However, as an investor it is important to know this information as soon as possible so there are no surprises.
Furthermore, because a Reserve Fund Study outlines a 10 year replacement plan, some developers will postpone expenses to the later years to make current returns look attractive. The overall expense projected by the Reserve Fund Study should be equally divided over the 10 years to ensure stability for the investor. The Engineering Report (mentioned above) will outline some of the expenses outlined in the Study.
• Property Management
Purchasing an investment property is simple; managing the property to ensure you receive your expected returns is where most investors falter. Is the company who sold you the investment taking ownership in managing the property for you after the sale? Outsourcing the management of the property to a third party leaves you the investor having to deal with another company should you have any management problems.
At Equity Builders management is the key to our philosophy. Our in-house management team handles the project after ownership transfers to the investors. We are able to report directly to the investors and take responsibility for any errors or mismanagement. Furthermore, we ONLY manage Equity Builders projects. How much attention will be given your investment if a company is either outsourcing the management of your investment or dealing with multiple projects with different investor groups?
• Residential/Commercial Real-Estate
As you enter into the commercial real-estate sector you want professional full-time management of your investment. It is impossible to excel at all levels of real-estate, the management team of Equity Builders only focus on this type of commercial investment. This full time attention will ensure your investment is getting proper attention on a daily basis.
• Comparable Sales
It is important before buying that you check out the neighbourhood you are considering purchasing in. Equity Builders, upon request, will provide you with these details for your review and consideration.
• Rent Roll
It is important to verify that the existing rent roll for the project is accurate. Often developers will inflate the income to show a greater return, or not disclose the number of vacancies in the project. You do not want the Vacancy / Repair Fund subsidizing the rent income from the start of your investment, these funds should only be used in case of shortfall of a fully occupied building. The developer upon request should be able to provide you with a current month’s rent roll of the project.
• The Right Choice
We hope that we have given you the knowledge you need in planning your investment future. Education is the key to success. Equity Builders is confident our knowledge, experience and expertise will ensure a safe investment for you and your family.